Neo-Nazis deface Jewish cemetery in Poland

Vandals spray-paint swastikas, anti-Semitic slogans on tombstones, deface memorial toJews murdered in Holocaust.

March 20, 2012 01:24
1 minute read.
Poland grave defaced with anti-Semitic spraypaint

Gravestone defaced with anti-Semitic spraypaint 370. (photo credit: Reuters)


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Vandals attacked a Jewish cemetery in the Polish town of Wysokie Mazowieckie over the weekend, spray-painting swastikas and anti-Semitic slogans on tombstones and defacing a memorial to local Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust.

The incident took place on Sunday night, approximately 145 kilometers northeast of Warsaw, and is was the latest in a series of anti-Semitic episodes in the area.

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Monika Krawczyk, who heads the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland (FODZ), which oversees Jewish sites throughout the country, said the evidence points to Polish neo-Nazis as being responsible.

On one of the headstones that was defaced, she noted, the vandals had scrawled the words “Here is Poland – not Israel,” which is a popular slogan among Polish neo-Nazi groups.

“It is particularly sad that this attack was committed against the dead, who cannot defend themselves,” Krawczyk told The Jerusalem Post. “And we are shocked to learn that it occurred in a town where for a long time we have been holding a positive Polish-Jewish dialogue with the local authorities and community.”

“We think we managed to build a bridge for mutual understanding, which the perpetrators of this attack are now attempting to shatter,” she insisted, adding that, “we hope that the police will find them and they will be brought to trial and justice.”

At the initiative of attorney Michael Traison, the cemetery was renovated by FODZ in 2006. Since then, the foundation has brought local Polish youths to visit and maintain the cemetery as part of an effort to educate Poland’s next generation about the country’s former Jewish community.

On the eve of the Holocaust, there were 2,500 Jews in Wysokie Mazowieckie, who constituted 55 percent of the town’s population. In August 1941, the Germans established a local ghetto, which was later liquidated on November 2, 1942. Nearly all of Wysokie Mazowieckie’s Jews were murdered in Treblinka and Auschwitz.

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